Improvements to TMT advice and feedback mechanisms

Dear CASCA members,

As promised in my recent President’s Message, here is some more information on what CASCA has been doing to improve its advisory structures relevant to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

Firstly, CASCA and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA) together have formed the CASCA/ACURA TMT Advisory Committee, whose main functions are to provide advice to CASCA and ACURA on the current state of the TMT project and to act as a conduit for consulting with and informing the Canadian Astronomical community about the state of the TMT project.

The composition of the CASCA/ACURA TMT Advisory Committee is as follows:

Michael Balogh (Waterloo; Chair of the Committee)
Stefi Baum (Manitoba; ACURA appointment)
Ray Carlberg (Toronto; CASCA appointment)
Sarah Gallagher (Western; CASCA appointment)
David Lafrenière (Montreal; CASCA appointment)
Harvey Richer (UBC; ACURA appointment)
Christine Wilson (McMaster; ACURA appointment)

The committee has begun its deliberations and has been developing ambitious plans for ways to help you connect to the project. The committee will be organizing Town Hall-style events to get your feedback and I encourage you to participate fully in these. We can all look forward to hearing much more from the TMT Advisory Committee over the next few months.

Another important CASCA committee that has been working hard on your behalf is the Long-range Plan Implementation Committee (LRPIC). This is chaired by John Hutchings (NRC). To help make sure LRPIC captures the full range of the community’s views, the CASCA Board has decided to add some additional members to LRPIC, and the first of these additions is Sara Ellison (Victoria).

Canadian astrophysics goes from strength to strength, and one key to all of this is the excellence of the vibrant community from which we draw terrific people to serve on these committees. I know I sound like a bit of a broken record, but these people are all busy, yet they have all volunteered to do a ton of work on our behalf. They all deserve our thanks, so please remember to thank them next time you see them.

Best regards,

Roberto Abraham

Kaspi and Martin appointed to Order of Canada

It is with great pleasure that the Canadian Astronomical Society / Société Canadienne d’Astronomie recognizes and applauds the appointment of Dr Victoria M. Kaspi of McGill University as a Companion of the Order of Canada, and Dr Peter G. Martin of the University of Toronto as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Victoria M. Kaspi is one of the world’s leading experts on neutron stars, the ancient remnants of the most massive stars in the Milky Way. The most massive stars end their lives as black holes. Less massive stars, however, leave behind celestial objects no bigger than the city of Montreal, yet so dense that just one teaspoon would weigh 100 million metric tonnes.

Dr Kaspi received her PhD from Princeton University in 1993. As well as receiving the 2016 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal from NSERC, she has received numerous prizes and fellowships, including the Hubble Fellowship, the Annie Jump Cannon Prize of the American Astronomical Society, and has been elected as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Society of London, and the US National Academy of Sciences.

A graduate of the University of Cambridge, and one of the world’s foremost experts on the interstellar medium, Dr Martin moved to the University of Toronto shortly after receiving his PhD in 1972, where he quickly began a series of efforts — continuing to the present day — that bolstered Canada’s reputation as a world leader in astronomical research. In 1984, he co-founded the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Research (CITA), which quickly grew into one of the world’s leading centres for theoretical astrophysics. During the past decade, he worked tirelessly to establish the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, now poised to become a major centre for the development of astronomical instrumentation.

Dr Martin’s contributions to the national community are equally extensive. He has served on countless national and international committees, including the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), of which he was one of the founding advisors.

CASCA congratulates Dr Kaspi and Dr Martin for this exceptional recognition of their outstanding contributions to fundamental research as well as the Canadian astronomy and astrophysics community.